May 23, 2018
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Madawaska’s Ashley Hebert the new Bachelorette

By Julia Bayly, BDN Staff

MADAWASKA, Maine — The rose is now in Ashley Hebert’s court.

The 26-year-old dental student from Madawaska who had her heart broken by bachelor Brad Womack in this season’s “The Bachelor” is getting a second chance to find love as the star on the coming season of “The Bachelorette.”

Hebert made it all the way to the final three in Season 15 of “The Bachelor” in which 29 women participated in various challenges and orchestrated dates hoping to impress bachelor Womack who, in turn, eliminated one woman at the end of each episode until — ideally — only his true love remained.

Last night that was Emily Maynard, a children’s hospital events coordinator from Atlanta.

“I think it was his loss not to have chosen Ashley,” Laurie Lavoie, Hebert’s mother, said Monday night. “I think he will see that in the future.”

Now it’s Hebert’s turn as filming begins this week for season seven of “The Bachelorette.”

The official announcement came during the “Jimmy Kimmel Live!” show at midnight Tuesday, but Lavoie said her daughter already had moved into her new California “Bachelorette” digs and was preparing for the first meet and greet of 29 single hopefuls early this week.

Other than hinting at an exotic tropical trip to tape a family segment for the television show, Lavoie is not permitted to discuss details surrounding the series’ production.

However, now that season 15 of “The Bachelor” is a wrap, Lavoie is free to share her impressions, including the experience of having an ABC camera crew come to Madawaska to tape Hebert and Womack on a hometown visit.

“Ashley was able to give me a week and a half notice they were coming,” Lavoie said. “I was so nervous, but when the cameras showed up, I was calm as can be.”

Lavoie said Womack was “a true Southern gentleman who called me ‘ma’am’ and my husband, Mike, ‘sir.’”

While in the St. John Valley, Hebert took Womack to The Lakeview Restaurant in St. Agatha where she introduced him and America to “poutine” — the local delicacy of french fries, cheese and gravy — Acadians, and showed off her French language skills.

The two then took some time to pose in front of the Welcome to Madawaska sign before heading to Babin’s Grocery in St. Agatha to pick up lobster for supper.

Womack also was introduced to the St. John Valley’s “honor system” when Hebert stopped at an unstaffed roadside vegetable stand for some local produce and paid by placing the correct purchase price in a small, wooden box.

Before filming could begin at the Lavoie household, Lavoie said, the production crew completed a sweep to mark any visible brand name products which later would be obscured in the editing process.

The crew missed a container of Scent Killer, a spray-on product Mike Lavoie uses during the hunting season.

The bottle was in full view during a segment in which Mike Lavoie and Womack chatted in the home’s garage.

The next day, Lavoie said, she received a call from the product’s parent company Wildlife Research Center overjoyed at the national exposure.

The call was followed several days later by a delivery of numerous company products and samples, she said.

“Mike was thrilled,” she said with a laugh. “He has enough to last for years.”

Dating can be stressful enough for parents, and Lavoie said watching her daughter courted by Womack on national television was a bit surreal.

“Ashley has a great head on her shoulders and we never doubted she would do the right thing,” Lavoie said, adding with a laugh, “but there were times I was looking at the TV through my fingers.”

Just as nerve-racking will be watching her daughter “date” more than two dozen suitors on national television, and Lavoie did have a warning for those men.

“It’s not going to be good if they are playing her,” she said. “But the way I know Ashley, she’ll see right through anyone playing her and will have good questions for them to figure things out.”

Ashley Hebert has not only gained fame for herself; back in her hometown her mother, stepfather and sister Chrystie and brother Eliot are in the spotlight, too.

“We can’t go anywhere in town and not hear about it,” Lavoie said with a laugh. “I just went to the chiropractor’s and walked in and they said, ‘You’re Ashley H’s mom. We were just talking about her.’”

As for finding love on the national stage?

“I’ve been a fan of the show for years and never thought of my daughter being on it,” Lavoie said. “I’m happy for her [and] when she called the other day, she said it was the happiest day in her life.”

During filming, Hebert did have to place her dental classes on hold, and Lavoie said her school has been very understanding and accommodating.

“The Bachelorette” ends filming May 12 and three days later Hebert graduates from dental school, Lavoie said, adding her daughter will have some makeup clinical work to complete during the summer.

Season seven of “The Bachelorette” premieres May 23 on ABC.

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